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German grammar, vocabularies, texts, pronunciation ...


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components of a sentence




Adjektiv (adjective)

An "Adjektiv" is a word which describes a noun.
It shows how something or somebody is.

Das Mädchen ist nett.

Adverb (adverb)

An "Adverb" is a word which describes a verb.
It shows how something is done.

Der Junge geht schnell.

Artikel (article)

The "Artikel" is a kind of companion of the noun.
It indicates which gender the noun belongs to.

There are two types of articles:

  • bestimmter Artikel (definite article): der, die, das - is used if you refer to a particular person or thing
  • unbestimmter Artikel (indefinite article): ein - is used if you refer to a person or thing but don't exactly specify their identity

das Auto

ein Auto

Konjunktion (conjunction)

"Konjunktionen" join together two or more sentences.
There are two types of conjunctions:

examples: und, oder, aber, ...

examples: dass, weil, als, ...

Objekt (object)

The "Objekt" is the not-acting person/thing in a sentence.

There are three types of objects:

  • Akkusativobjekt (direct object): receives the action done by the subject
  • Dativobjekt (indirect object): is the "beneficiary" of the action
  • Präpositionalobjekt (object of a preposition): is connected to the subject by a preposition

Er schickt dem Mädchen einen Brief.
Er schickt dem Mädchen einen Brief.
Er liegt auf dem Sofa.

Partikel (particle)

"Partikel" are little helping words we use to emphasis something or make something sound less demanding, ...

doch, mal, bloß, wohl

Präposition (preposition)

"Präpositionen" are small words which connect a noun to another noun, verb or adjective.
The prepostion indicates their relationhip, direction, location or function.

Der Mann lebt in Deutschland.

Pronomen (pronoun)

There are several types of pronouns:

  • Personalpronomen (personal pronoun): replaces a noun or refers back to a noun which was mentioned before
  • Possessivpronomen (possessive pronoun): a word that shows to whom something belongs
  • Demonstrativpronomen (demonstrative pronoun): a word to point out a particular thing or person
  • Reflexivpronomen (reflexive pronoun): if subject and object (=here the pronoun) are the same person the pronoun is called "Reflexivpronomen". It reflects back to the noun.
  • Relativpronomen (relative pronoun): introduces a relative clause and refers back to the noun of the main sentence
  • Fragepronomen (interrogative pronoun): is a question word which is used to ask for a pronoun
  • Indefinitpronomen (indefinite pronoun): is a pronoun which refers to somebody or something in general - not a particular one

examples: ich, du, er/sie/es ...

examples: mein, dein, sein, ...

examples: dieser, jener

examples: mir, mich, dir, dich, sich ...

examples: der, den, welcher, ...

examples: Wer?, Welcher?, Wessen?, ...

examples: jeder, jemand, niemand, ...

Subjekt (subject)

The "Subjekt" is the acting person/thing in a sentence or it is just the subject-matter of the sentence.

Ich lese ein Buch.
Cathy ist ein Mädchen.

Substantiv (noun)

A "Substantiv" is a person, place, thing, idea or animal.
A noun is (almost) everything what you can touch.

Ich lese ein Buch.

Verb (verb)

The "Verb" is the action of the sentence and describes what is done.
Sometimes it discribes the existence or happening of somebody/something.

We distinguish verbs according to different points of view:

      according to their typ

  • Hauptverben (main verbs): can stand alone and make sense without other verbs
  • Hilfsverben (helping verbs): are used to form tenses, moods and voices
  • Modalverben (modal verbs): are verbs which modify the maining of the main verb to express permission, ability, ban, recommendation.
    Usually a modal verb doesn't make sense without the main verb.

      according to their past forms
  • starke Verben (strong verbs): are irregular and change mostly their stem vowel in the "Präteritum" and "Partizip II" form
  • schwache Verben (weak verbs): are regular and their past forms follow a rule
  • gemischte Verben (mixed verbs): behave like strong verbs and weak verbs

      according to their prefix
  • trennbare Verben (separable verbs): the prefix spilts up in certain situations
  • untrennbare Verben (inseparable verbs): the prefix never splits up from the stem
  • Dualverben (dual verbs): are separable or inseparable depending on the meaning

Ich lese ein Buch.
Ich bin ein Mann.

examples: lesen, schreiben, gehen, ...

examples: haben, sein, werden
examples: können, müssen, dürfen, ...

example: lesen/las/gelesen

example: kaufen/kaufte/gekauft

example: rennen/rannte/gerannt

example: fernsehen
example: verstehen

example: übersetzen

other important grammar terms




Fall (case)

The "Fall" (=Kasus) is a tool to explain the role of a person/thing in a sentence. The case shows in which relation the person/thing is to the other words. The case itself is no word. It's a fictional thing which helps to choose e.g. the correct ending of an adjective.

There are four cases in the German language:

  • Nominativ (nominative) is used for the subject/predicate complement
  • Genitiv (genitive) is used to express ownership/possession
  • Dativ (dative) is used for the indirect object
  • Akkusativ (accusative) is used for the direct object

The role of a noun in a sentence is one indicator for the case.
Other indicators are certain prepositions, verbs and adjectives.

der Mann
des Mannes
dem Mann
den Mann

für, um, bis,... (accusative prepositions)
mit, nach, von, zu,... (dative prepositions)
wegen, während ,... (genitive prepositions)

Genus Verbi (voice)

The "Genus Verbi" is a feature of a verb to focus on either the person/thing who does something (=subject) or the process what is done (verb).

There are two "voices" in the German language:

  • Aktiv (active voice) is used if the focus is on the subject = It's important who does something.
  • Passiv (passive voice) is used if the focus is on the verb = It's not important who does something.

Tom schrieb ein Buch (Tom wrote a book.)

Ein Buch wurde geschrieben.
(A book was written.)

Geschlecht (gender)

In addition to the natural (biological) gender every noun has got a grammatical gender which often differs from the biological gender.

There are three gender in the German language:

  • männlich (male) indicated by the definite article der
  • weiblich (female) indicated by the definite article die
  • sächlich (neuter) indicated by the definite article das

der Mann
die Frau
das Kind

Modus (mood)

The "Modus" is a feature of a verb that shows the relationship of a verb with the reality and its intent.

There are three moods in the German language:

  • Indikativ (indicative) to speak about everything what really happens
  • Konjunktiv (subjunctive) to speak about fictional/unreal things
  • Imperativ (imperative) to make a requestion or give a command

Er ist hier.
Ich wünschte, er wäre hier.
Sei um 8.00 Uhr hier!

Numerus (number)

The "Numerus" is a term to describe how many persons/things are involed in the action.

There are two forms in the German language:

  • Singular (singluar) is used for one person/thing
  • Plural (plural) is used for two or more persons/things

Ich habe ein Auto.
Wir haben zwei Autos.

Person (person)

The "Person" is a term to describe the point of view in a sentence.

There are three "persons" in the German language:

  • 1. Person (1st person) is used when the speaker(s) is the one who does something in the sentence
  • 2. Person (2nd person) is used if the person to whom the sentence is addressed does something in the sentence
  • 3. Person (3rd person) is used when the person you and your counterpart speak about does something

ich, wir

du, ihr

er/sie/es, sie (pl.)

Zeitform (tense)

The "Zeitform" is a feature of a verb to express when something happens.

There are six tenses in the German language:

  • Präsens (present) to speak about current events
  • Präteritum (=Imperfekt) (simple past) to speak about past events
  • Perfekt (present perfect) to speak about past events
  • Plusquamperfekt (past perfect) to speak about an event in the past which had happened before an event in the past
  • Futur I (future) to speak about future events
  • Futur II (future perfect) to speak about future events which will be finished by a certain time in the future

ich sehe (I see)
ich sah (I saw)
ich habe gesehen (I have seen)
ich hatte gesehen (I had seen)

ich werde sehen (I will see)
ich werde gesehen haben (I will have seen)

"procedures" in the German grammar




Deklination (declension)

The "Deklination" is a procedure we use to change nouns, pronouns and the endinings of adjectives according to their case, number and gender.

eine schöne Frau
einer schönen Frau

Konjugation (conjugation)

The "Konjugation" is a procedure we use to change verbs according to their number, person, mood, tense and voice.

ich gehe
du gehst
er/sie/es geht

Steigerung (comparison)

The "Steigerung" is a procedure we use to "uplift adjectives on a higher/stronger level".

There are three "levels" of an adjective:

  • Positiv (positive)
  • Komparativ (comparative)
  • Superlativ (superlative)

am nettesten

summary - documents for your folder

Grammatikbegriffe (7 pages)